He Stood Up, and We Count Him

A message from Blizzard president Mike Morhaime:

Dear members of the Blizzard community,

I have read your feedback and comments about this year’s BlizzCon, and I have also read the feedback to the apology from Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain. I’d like to respond to some of your feedback here.

As president of Blizzard, I take full responsibility for everything that occurs at BlizzCon.

It was shortsighted and insensitive to use the video at all, even in censored form. The language used in the original version, including the slurs and use of sexual orientation as an insult, is not acceptable, period. We realize now that having even an edited version at the show was counter to the standards we try to maintain in our forums and in our games. Doing so was an error in judgment, and we regret it.

The bottom line is we deeply apologize for our mistakes and for hurting or offending anyone. We want you to have fun at our events, and we want everyone to feel welcome. We’re proud to be part of a huge and diverse community, and I am proud that so many aspects of the community are represented within Blizzard itself.

As a leader of Blizzard, and a member of the band, I truly hope you will accept my humblest apology.

- Mike Morhaime President, Blizzard Entertainment

Well said, sir.

Via gaygamer.com with a tipoff from Wilhelm (presumably of TAGN) in comments of my previous post.

UPDATE: Fixed link to The Ancient Gaming Noob (Linking again for karma.)

Stand Up and Be Counted

Blizzard, I expect better of you. You are the company that challenged the great gamer/nerd prejudice that orcs are bad. To you, orcs were kind of cool. And then undead and trolls, too. But, apparently, not gay people.

Well, I’m sure you’re happy to have gay people work for you and play your games. I bet you’re a pretty progressive employer.

However, at the end of the latest Blizzcon, you showed a video featuring George “Corspeater” Fisher, from Cannibal Corpse talking about his love of the Horde, and also his hatred of the Alliance, which was described using homophobic language. If you follow this link, you will find a version of the video shown. If you watch it, be warned, it’s so very, very NSFW.

What did you expect from a Death Metal head? It’s pretty clearly meant to be a joke, just way, way too far over the top. But some people aren’t going to be able to take it that way. There are lots of instances of that, and I’ve been on the other side, attempting a joke that others found hurtful.

And George clearly ascribes to the idea that if he doesn’t use the word “fuck” or a derived form twice in a sentence, he wasn’t being “authentic” or something. He’s clearly of the “don’t use a normal word when I can say something offensive” school of thought.

The video was bleeped out, but they showed it anyway. Does that make sense to you? How was this decision made? Let’s offend over half of your audience? I can appreciate how someone just thought it was funny, and kind of mocking. There’s a thread of self-mockery in George’s tone, it seems to me.

But would someone who has been beaten for being gay hear that? Or someone who has been humiliated repeatedly for being not quite “manly” enough?

I’m not sure Blizzard has made an official response yet. It seems to me the Blizzard is a fairly progressive employer and fosters a gay-positive workplace. But WoW players, and particularly raiders, use some of the most vulgar language out there, including homophobic slurs. So, will they affirm their own values when doing so might upset some of their best customers?

I expect them to stand up for what they pretty clearly believe in.